I flew up to the Bay Area yesterday to give a college talk to a group of affluent families. I was told that some of the parents in the audience worked for Google, Facebook and other high-tech goliaths. Not all of their children, however, are necessarily as smart as they are.
I expect that having high-achieving parents can put even more pressure on kids to ace their classes and be academic alpha dogs just like their moms and dads were. But here’s the problem….Not everybody can get into UC Berkeley, the Ivies or other schools that are considered to the best. (If you spend time on my blog, you will appreciate that I don’t believe that families should assume that these schools are superior to many others!)
I think teens will feel less pressure if they understand that there are many wonderful schools out there that don’t reject nearly all applicants. In reality, 69% of high school seniors get into their No. 1 college choice. Really!
I am always urging parents and teens to cast a wider net. To help get that process started, I’m rerunning a post that I wrote earlier this year about liberal arts colleges and the sciences….
What Colleges Are Producing Science and Engineering PhDs
I got an email this week from a California mother who was happy that her child would be a attending St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a wonderful public liberal arts college, in the fall.
Her husband, however, remained skeptical. He worried that his daughter would be jeopardizing her chances of going to graduate school if she went to an obscure liberal arts school. He thought she’d have a better shot at attending graduate school if she earned her bachelor’s degree from a large state university in California or elsewhere.
Here’s my answer to that: Nonsense.
Students who attend liberal arts colleges enjoy many advantages that students at large public institutions often don’t. At liberal arts colleges, there is a much greater chance for undergraduate research. Classes are routinely small. Instead of 200 or 300 in Calculus II, you may have 15 or 20 students. Students have more opportunity to develop bonds with professors because the learning is in small settings and not lecture halls. And remember, it’s the professors who are writing those graduate school recommendations.
Okay, you might be wondering, but where are your facts to back up your claims?
To answer the email from the mom, I tracked down a report produced by the National Science Foundation that examined where scientists and engineers, who had earned PhD’s, had obtained their undergraduate degrees. The majority of schools in the top 50 list of PhD-producing schools were liberal arts colleges.
When the NSF looked at what schools were producing the most PhD’s, per 100 undergraduate degrees granted, only three public institutions made the list – University of California-Berkeley, William and Mary College and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
50 Top Schools for Science & Engineering PhDs
Without further ado, here are the top 50 schools where graduates ultimately received a PhD in science or engineering:
- Cal Tech
- Harvey Mudd College
- Reed College
- Swarthmore College
- Carleton College
- University of Chicago
- Grinnell College
- Rice University
- Princeton University
- Harvard University
- Bryn Mawr College
- Haverford College
- Pomona College
- New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology
- Williams College
- Yale Univeristy
- Oberlin College
- Stanford University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Kalamazoo College
- Cornell University
- Case Western Reserve
- Washington College
- Brown University
- Wesleyan University
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Macalester College
- Amherst College
- Duke University
- Beloit College (My son’s school.)
- Bowdoin Collge
- Wellesley College
- Ressenlaer Polytechnic Institute
- Earlham College
- Franklin and Marshall College
- Lawrence University
- University of Rochester
- University of California-Berkeley
- Dartmouth College
- Occidental College
- Hendrix College
- Vassar College
- Trinity University
- College of William and Mary
- St. John College
- Bates College
- Whitman College
- Brandeis University
- Hampshire College
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she has just released an eBook, Shrinking the Cost of College: 152 Ways to Cut the Cost of a Bachelor’s Degree. Follow me on Twitter.
Which is Better: A University of Liberal Arts College?
New York University: Tale of 2 Students
Beware of Wildly Different Grad Rates
Leave a Reply